Clergy Financial Literacy Academy Empowers Pastors


The Clergy Financial Literacy Academy pioneered by the Georgia United Methodist Foundation equips and empowers pastors to make better financial decisions. The 20-hour online and Zoom course priced at $50 consists of modules for both personal and church finance. Read on to learn what five recent graduates have to say about their experience! To learn more, please call 770-449-6726, 877-220-5664, or 478-256-7130 (South Georgia) or visit our CFLA page on our website.

Rev. Shari Rates, Metropolitan UMC Senior Pastor, Rome

1. Why did you enroll? I have been frustrated for years with the two areas CFLA addresses: personal and ecclesiastical.

2. What did you like the most? We all come to the table with both similar and different needs as pastors; but the schematic of how to navigate the world of personal and church finances through the Academy, peers, and leadership is helping to set the groundwork for a better future with churches and the pastors who serve them.

3. What were the biggest benefits? You cannot overcome circumstances without taking the first step. This process requires commitment and consistency. The Academy is giving me the tools and support I wish I had at the beginning of my ministry. It provides resources, formulas, motivation, and support, which is key to the success of longevity and change.

4. Would you recommend this course? Yes, all pastors, provisionals, finance chairs, secretaries, and treasurers need to participate. In some instances, it should be a requirement.

Rev. Debbie Cone, Avalon UMC Senior Pastor, Albany

1. Why did you enroll? I wanted to make sure I was handling finances the right way. I also wanted the Church to be all that we could be in the community as far as missions were concerned.

2. What did you like the most? This was all about God, and it always related back to Scripture!

3. What were the biggest benefits? This was one of the best courses I have ever done because you get to share experiences with other pastors. It was very well prepared. You not only get the information you need, but you also learn how to use it. The follow-up was excellent. You can call back at any time if you have questions. Doing it on Zoom was also cool because it saves you time and money.

4. Would you recommend this course? Yes, this course not only helps with individual finances, but it helps you be a better pastor with church finances. I wish I had this course before I ever started my first year in ministry because I lacked knowledge about deductions a pastor could withhold for tax purposes.

Rev. Karon Compton, Tallapoosa First UMC Pastor, Tallapoosa, and 
Rev. Tom Compton, Old Camp UMC Pastor, Carrollton

1. Why did you enroll? Honestly, we needed the Continuing Education Units and thought the course would be helpful to better manage our personal and church finances.

2. What did you like the most? We liked the structure and the guidance through some difficult material. We bought the book “He Said It! I Did It!” written by Charles W. Buffington Jr. and his son to supplement coursework.

3. What were the biggest benefits? We should have done this 30 years ago! The course provided us with a better financial foundation for personal and church budgeting and planning. There are also resources available through CFLA to help our trustees and finance and building committees.

4. Would you recommend this course? Yes, we would for two reasons. You need the CEUs, and you will have a resource that will help your growth as a Christian, family, and pastor. Pastors ought to embrace this opportunity while they are young.

Rev. Mike Broome, Hiram First UMC Pastor, Hiram

1. Why did you enroll? This was a good opportunity to do a fiscal financial checkup on both a personal and church level.

2. What did you like the most? I liked having colleagues come together from a variety of backgrounds and opinions. It was good to see the unity in the Church.

3. What where the biggest benefits? As a father or a parent, you always want to provide for your kids. And as a pastor, you want to provide for the financial soundness of your church. The CFLA provided the tools to evaluate current and future financial needs, to set goals, and to measure success on both a personal and churchwide basis. Having my finances organized along with the Church’s helps direct that vision and goal setting in a healthy direction.

4. Would you recommend this course? Yes, the passion and teamwork between GUMF staff and Charles Buffington really made the experience. They are all working together to make pastors and the Church financially healthy.